David Bowie’s image refracts through just about every one of his iconic music videos, but it’s fitting that he’d be absent from his first posthumous visual for Blackstar track “I Can’t Give Everything Away."
Directed by artist Jonathan Barnbrook, “I Can’t Give Everything Away” is the third video to be taken from Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, following the title track and the eerily prophetic "Lazarus" -- both released shortly before his death on January 10. The clip splashes the song’s lyrics against a backdrop of stars in a nod to both the Blackstar album cover and Bowie’s career-long intertwinement with science fiction imagery.
The lyrics show just how conscious Bowie was of his impending death while making his last album. He never revealed that he had cancer while he was alive, but the struggle of coming to terms with his final days shows in the music he was working on at the time.
The animated stars trace an infinity symbol at the song’s climax before the animation breaks into full color. The video ends with an astronaut floating past brightly colored nebulas in an homage to the “stargate” sequence from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which inspired Bowie’s first major single, “Space Oddity."
Astronaut imagery would come up again throughout Bowie’s career, most recently in the video for “Blackstar,” which depicted a bejeweled skeleton abandoned inside a space suit. The simple lyric video is a poignant way to say goodbye to Bowie, who’s still very much present in pop culture three months after his passing.